Friday, March 22, 2013

XLStyles Tool - Clean Up Corrupt Excel Files that Are Openable - Make Them More Stable - Excellent

You can find this free tool in the Windows 8 App store. It's pretty neat. It would be used with corrupt Excel files that still can be opened. 

Since I'm only learning how to use Windows 8 apps myself, I thought I would make a tutorial on how to search for the app in the Windows Store, install it and use it. I think they actually did an excellent job with how Windows 8 works. It's just simpler than the old ways but not immediately apparent to a soon to be senior like me.

To do so:
1. First you swipe on the lower right to bring up your Search Bar.
2. Click on Search to activate the apps section of Windows 8. 
3. Click on the "Store". The store starts up. Now swipe again on the lower right.
Your search is now searching in the Windows 8 store as you can tell by the tiny
white lettering above the Search Field on the Search Menu that says "Store".
4. Search for XLStylesTool and click on the XLStylesTool result.
5. Click on the Install button.
6. XLStyles Tool installed. Go ahead and click on it.
7. Click on the "Get File" button and load a possibly corrupt
Excel file that still opens that you want to clean up,
 improve performance and size and perhaps recover data.
8. Navigate through the file structure provided by Windows 8
apps and select the spreadsheet you wish to improve.
9. Check which improvements you
want to make and click "Process File".
10. Examine your results. There apparently is no need to save your
changes as they were made and saved automatically. The file should
become smaller and more stable and possibly show previously corrupt data.
11. Here is the readme.txt file downloaded from XLGeek's skydrive
you can find Windows desktop versions for Windows 7 and below.
They are called XLCleaner and XLCleanerDotNET4.0 in the Skydrive.
XLGeek also has a blog here.

"How to use XLStylesTool.EXE
This OOXML based tool removes unused cell styles, “stubborn styles” that you can't delete through Excel UI, bad named ranges, named ranges with external references, unhides non-system created hidden named ranges. This tool will work on workbooks with protected sheets and read-only password protected workbooks in about 1-2 sec.
Features and options

Feature: removes all unused styles from the workbook. Unused style = style that is defined in the workbook, but is not used in any cells.
Option: has an option to force all cell styles to ‘Normal’. <- Produces the best results when it comes to size and workbook stability.
IMPORTANT: you will NOT lose any cell formatting if you force all styles to 'Normal'. This option simply resets cell style property to 'Normal' and doesn't alter any of already applied format settings.
This option will get you the most stable and the cleanest version of your workbook. If your file scan shows that Styles Max ID is not equal to Style Node Count minus 1 (this is an indication that you have very serious styles related corruption in the file) I strongly recommend that you force all styles to 'Normal'.
Named Ranges:
Feature: removes all bad named ranges. Criteria for bad named range = named range that refers to “#REF!”.
Option: has an option to remove named ranges that refer to external sources.  These typically contribute to a huge workbook size bloat and most users are unaware that they even have huge caches in their workbooks because they have been hauling them around literally for years.
Option: has an option to unhide hidden named ranges.  Handles cases where named ranges are hidden and therefore are invisible to the users that are trying to clean up the workbook manually. NOTE: system generated named ranges with valid references will remain untouched and hidden.

The app user has the ability to analyze the impact of various selected options on the file and assess the impact of all selections before saving the changes. The actual file won’t be altered and written to disk until you choose to do so. However, the file should be saved via Excel client to complete the cleanup process. Excel file save process does a lot of work to finish the process of getting rid of unused styles, unused custom number formats, unused cached data, etc…
You may expect workbook sizes to drop significantly. In some extreme cases I've seen size drops from 4MB down to 40KB after a cleanup with subsequent Excel client save."

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